Dealing With Really Bad Jacks or Better Hands
October 18, 2013
In video poker games, and Jacks or Better especially, you're often deal really bad hands that you have to try to play the best way you can. While it can be a bit of a bummer to realize that your chances of making a good hand are pretty low, you have to be as objective as possible in these types of situations. The key to making these hands work for you is playing them the best you can so that you lose as little as you have to. Here we're going to walk you through how to play the worst hands that you can get in this game.
If you're dealt less than a pair of Jacks, you're going to have to work to get a payoff. Having a four-card flush draw is better than having a low pair of tens or worse, but that low pair is better than having an eight-out straight draw. If you can't make a low pair or a four-card draw, then you're going to have a difficult time figuring out which of your cards to keep, and this is where most people make the most mistakes in Jacks or Better.
If you have two suited high cards, you should keep them. If you don't, then keep three to a straight flush if you happen to have it. Without suited high cards, you should look at keeping two offsuit high cards. If you have more than two of them, then you should actually just keep the lowest two. For example, if you had AQJ52 with no possible flush draw, then you should keep the QJ instead of the AQ or the AQJ. The reason for this is that two cards will make better pair-based hands than three cards on average. You pick the lowest two cards because something like QJ has a better chance to make straights than AQ or AJ.
If you only have one high card, but you also have a suited ten, then you should keep the two of them unless your high card is an ace in which case you shouldn't. Otherwise, just keep your single high card. If you don't have even a single high card, then you should just go ahead and discard all five cards in your hand. This situation won't come up often, but it's the best play to make for when it does.